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They aren't alone, someone cares: Photographer of disturbing Disney series

Priyata Brajabasi | Updated on: 17 May 2017, 14:58 IST
(Shannon Dermody Photography)

Trigger warning: Some of these images might be too graphic for certain audiences.

One can't imagine Disney princesses dealing with the same struggles as real-life women. They are the very personification of elegance, innocence and beauty. Well, not all the time, and certainly not these princesses.

Twenty-year-old Philadelphia-based photographer Shannon Dermody created this photo series as a class assignment, which she later shared on social media. Next thing she knew, the photo series went viral.

Far from the feel-good world of Disney, these 9 photos seek to show audiences the dramatic and violent conditions some women live in. They shatter the make-believe world of Disney and present women and their problems, princess or not.

Tiana from the Princess and the Frog is depicted as a shooting victim in an instance of police brutality. (Shannon Dermody Photography)
Cinderella is seen as a victim of sex trafficking. (Shannon Dermody Photography)

Dermody spoke to Catch about her work and explained why she felt it was important to use Disney princesses as characters in her photo series. “I felt that if I used characters that everyone knew, they could make more of a connection with the series and it would make more of an impact.”

The artist aims to create awareness about issues she thinks aren’t spoken about openly enough. “I wanted people to acknowledge what is going on in the world. I don't want people to ignore it and not believe that it's happening just because it's not happening to them.

“People have messaged me thanking me because they know someone sees what's going on and they are not alone.”

The Little Mermaid's Ariel is left floating in garbage as a victim of pollution. (Shannon Dermody Photography)
Jasmine of Aladdin is shown as a tobacco smoker in the nine-image series. (Shannon Dermody Photography)

The photos are graphic, and the nine images in the series address separate issues, depicting Disney princesses as abuse victims or addicts.

Belle is shown to be a victim of domestic abuse, with her face covered in bruises and scratches, as the Beast stands ominously behind her in the shadow, handing her a rose.

Alcoholism is represented by Snow White, who is shown in a photo lying face down on a mattress on a floor, her hand wrapped around an empty liquor bottle - and surrounded by several more.

Merida from Brave is shown shooting heroin in a dirty bathroom. (Shannon Dermody Photography)
Belle of Beauty & the Beast is depicted as a victim of domestic abuse. (Shannon Dermody Photography)

Ariel of The Little Mermaid is made out to be a victim of pollution in the series, photographed floating in water choked by plastic waste, including plastic bottles and candy wrappers.

One of the more graphic images depicts police brutality, with Tiana from the Princess and the Frog lying dead on the pavement, as her pulse is checked by a man standing over her, holding the gun.

Addiction is also covered in the photos, with Jasmine from Aladdin shown sitting on a carpet smoking tobacco and Merida of Pixar's Brave injecting heroin on a dingy bathroom floor.

Aurora of Sleeping Beauty is a rape victim abandoned on a street. (Shannon Dermody Photography)
Snow White is depicted as an alcoholic and seen passed out next to empty alcohol bottles. (Shannon Dermody Photography)
Rapunzel hangs herself with her famous golden tresses. (Shannon Dermody Photography)

Locked in chains, and on the floor, with her mascara smeared by tears, Cinderella is depicted as a victim of sex trafficking, while Aurora of Sleeping Beauty appears as a rape victim, left bruised and battered on a street.

An image depicts Rapunzel as a victim of suicide, having hung herself with her famous golden tresses.

Shannon told Catch that the importance of her work has been acknowledged, and it has been received very well. “Overall the response has been very positive. I have had some very negative and rude comments but that's okay because the positive responses mean the world to me.

“I love that I'm making people aware they aren't alone, [that] someone cares and that someone is trying to get awareness out. And I am happy with that.”

For more information about the photographer click here.

First published: 17 May 2017, 14:58 IST
Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

Priyata thinks in words and delivers in pictures. The marriage of the two, she believes, is of utmost importance. Priyata joined the Catch team after working at Barcroft Media as a picture desk editor. Prior to that she was on the Output Desk of NDTV 24X7. At work Priyata is all about the news. Outside of it, she can't stay far enough. She immerses herself in stories through films, books and television shows. Oh, and she can eat. Like really.